Nebraska Dragonflies and Damselflies

Red Damsel

Amphiagrion species

Western Red Damsel Amphiagrion abbreviatum Selys, 1876

Eastern Red Damsel Amphiagrion saucium Burmeister, 1839

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Red Damsel males are a distinctive red with a black thorax. They are tiny but their color makes them stand out in green foliage. Females are orange to red with no black markings.

There are two species: the Western Red Damsel (Amphiagrion abbreviatum) and the Eastern Red Damsel (Amphiagrion saucium). The genus is transcontinental, but red damsels in eastern states (Eastern Red Damsels) and ones in western states (Western Red Damsels) are easily separated and regarded as full species. The ones in Nebraska and much of the Midwest are intermediate, and Nebraska is on the western edge of the intermediate zone.

A typical habitat would be a seepage area where there is a permanent, very shallow flow of clear water through open to fairly dense stands of aquatic vegetation. Good sites for the species are the seepages at the bases of dams and seepage areas at the edge of streams or even rivers. It is local but widespread in Nebraska, although rarer in the eastern and southern half of the state, and evidently opportunistic in inhabiting new areas.

Red Damsel
Red Damsel pair in "wheel"

Size: 23-27 mm (.9 -1.1 in)

Habitat: near spring-fed ponds, marshes, bogs

Great Plains Range: KS, NE, SD, ND, NM, CO, WY, MT, MO, IA, MN

Flight season: mid May to late August

Red Damsel map

Green indicates accepted county record (specimen or photograph).
Yellow indicates sight record only.

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